The of Taste of Italy's legacy began 25 years ago, when proprietor Giancarlo "JC" Schiano Di Cola began to study the culinary traditions of his family in his native Napoli. At age 13, he moved stateside, where he learned under the watchful eye of his father, Giovanni, who once worked in the kitchens of the Brooklyn restaurant circuit, including his own restaurant. After proving his skill through 20 years of cooking experience and successfully untying a Gordian knot of spaghetti noodles, JC opened the first Taste of Italy Pizza location in August 2004, with a second location in Canton coming seven years late.
With the use of his father's classic New York recipes, the Canton location blossomed into a bastion of old world culinary tradition. He now feeds the hungry masses at both locations with mouth-watering New York– and Sicilian-style pizzas, as well as traditional Italian pasta dishes. Plates of homemade lasagna, hearty gnocchi bolognese, and creamy tortellini alla panna share table space with fresh caprese and antipasto. In the kitchen, vats of from-scratch marinara sauce simmer on the burners while the dining room hums with a jovial buzz of casual dining. In addition to treating visitors to meals of authentic Italian and familiar American cuisine, Taste of Italy provisions banquets and celebrations with bountiful catered trays of salad and pasta as well as special meals for any occasion.
Grand Slam Pizza's resident dough designers crown pies with 17 assorted toppings before baking them into bubbling, cheesy teething toys. Diners can thumb through the menu to test it for potential scratch-and-sniff capabilities and to select one of many specialty pizzas, such as the bacon cheeseburger, a delectable combination of crumbled hamburger, bacon, and mozzarella cheese (16", $14.99). Diners can also craft their own pies (16", $9.99) by mixing toppings ($1.25 each) as diverse as ham, black or green olives, sausage, and mushrooms. An order of 10 hot wings ($5.99) offers warmth to tongues cold from cleaning the freezer, and cinnamon stix with icing ($3.99) ensure that meals end as sweetly as a collision with an ice-cream truck.
Zucca was founded by a trio of forlorn New York natives who longed for a taste of a thin, crispy-crusted, Staten Island–style pie. The results are presented on a menu dense with Italian delights. Starters such as crispy fried risotto and mozzarella balls ($7) and fresh bruschetta ($6.25) make satisfying meal bases for the award-winning pizzas. Pies are offered in two sizes—personal portions ($8+) or 18" discs ($13+)—and come customizable with more than 25 toppings, including bacon ($2), eggplant ($2), and roasted red peppers ($3). Specialty pies such as the expo-winning victory pie ($19 for 18" pie), a Margherita pizza with parsley sausage, mushrooms, and shaved parmesan, will tame topping negotiations, while hand-held calzones ($7–$9) and the extensive selection of popular pasta dishes ($10–$15) and entrees ($13–$21) are sure to delight.
Though they emerge from the oven smothered with attractive toppings ranging from banana peppers to feta cheese, the tastes of Pizza Capri's pies always emerge from their foundations of housemade dough and housemade marinara sauce. Between slices or bites from meatball subs doused in the same marinara sauce, diners sip domestic and imported beers or soft drinks such as iced tea brewed daily.
Around the eatery, sports flicker across flat-screen TVs and guests compete in weekly games of bar bingo, team trivia, and texas hold'em. An amusement area includes pinball, Silver Strike Bowling, and Golden Tee machines for diners who aren't skilled enough to manually play golf inside the restaurant.
Ray’s New York Pizza offers a menu filled with delicious New York–style pizzas, pastas, salads, sandwiches, and more, all made from fresh ingredients. Start out by throwing on your best bomb-squad costume and carefully approaching an explosive plate of chicken bursts ($6.75) served with ranch, garlic, or hot sauce, and top it off with a warm bowl of chili ($2.99). Alternately, use bits of candy corn you saved from last Halloween to lure a chicken, gyro, or veggie-filled pita wrap ($7.50) into your mouth trap. Pizzas can be procured in classically foldable slices ($2.75–$4.25) or in 14-inch ($14.15–$18.70), 16-inch ($16.50–$21.25), or 18-inch ($17.75–$22.75) sizes. Meat lovers will appreciate Ray’s meat pizza, which features pepperoni, sausage, ham, and meatballs, while the gourmet veggie pizza will delight herbivores and herbivoyeurs with a conglomeration of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and other legumes.
New York–Style Pizza | Specialty Slices | Featured on Man v. Food | Vegetarian Alternatives
When to Go: For dinner and a show, stop by at 3:30 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. on Monday–Thursday, when Big Pie typically schedules its Carnivore Challenge. During this 60-minute feat, one hungry duo attempts to eat an 11-pound, meat-laden pizza in exchange for a $250 cash prize. The challenge is as daunting as it sounds—not even the team from the Travel Channel series Man v. Food could conquer it.
Inside Tip: Make sure you show up with an especially hearty appetite. Even single slices are massive here, since they're cut from one of the pizzeria's 30-inch pies.